This Oktoberfest, you don’t need to head into town to enjoy Oktoberfest festivities. Invite your friends and family over to your backyard beer garden to enjoy some German fare and music. These five simple steps will turn your backyard into a festive beer garden to enjoy with your party guests.
- Seating: Set up appropriate seating for your guests. Long benches like they have in German beer tents will enhance the festive feel.
- Decorations: Spice up the party atmosphere by decorating your backyard in German beer tent style: German flags, beer signs and steins.
- Beer: Without beer (and cider for the little ones), there really can be no beer garden. So treat your guests to various German beers either with an ample cooler selection or a couple of pony kegs. Some popular German beers include Warsteiner, which comes in light and dark (dunkel), and Hefeweizen. You can also bring a sampling of your favorite crafted organic beers.
- Music: Pump in some traditional German tunes, or choose your own party tunes.
- Food: German food is the key to any great Oktoberfest celebration. What other time can you scarf down brats and spaetzel with abandon? Prepare a selection of German eats and treats for your guests. Be sure to check your guest list for vegetarians and vegans and prepare a few non-meat entree treats.
Once you’ve followed these five steps you’ll be ready for your Oktoberfest party. Try these German recipes at your bash and you can’t go wrong.
- Entree: Wiener schnitzel
- Vegetarian Entree: Spaetzel
- Side Dish: Sauerkraut
- Beverage: Shandy
- Dessert: Streudel
The following is my Great Aunt Annie’s streudel recipe. Annie and her family immigrated from Germany (their hometown was in Austria-Hungary at the time) at the turn of the century.
Aunt Annie’s Raised Dough Nut Streudel
1 cake yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
2 cups milk, divided
1/4 teaspoon sugar
6 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or shortening
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
1/2 cup nuts
1/2 cup raisins
Raise yeast in 1/2 cup warm milk and 1/4 teaspoon sugar for 10 minutes.
Sift flour once, measure and sift again with salt.
Cream butter and sugar well. Beat in egg yolks.
When yeast is raised, add to cream mixture and mix. Add flour alternately with remaining milk. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Let rise in warm place 2 hours or until dough doubles.
Preheat oven to 350.
Roll on floured board 1/4-inch thick. Spread with nuts and raises and roll into a jellyroll shape.
Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.
You’d rather celebrate without the work? Check out an Oktoberfest festival near you.
Boston, Mass. — Boston hosts the Harpoon Oktoberfest Sept. 28-29.
Chicago, Illinois— Chicago hosts its Oktoberfest Sept. 28-30.
Denver, Colo. — Denver hosts its Oktoberfest Sept. 28-30.
Helen, Ga. — Helen hosts a two-month Oktoberfest every day, continuing now through Oct. 28.
La Crosse, Wisc. — Visit La Crosse for Oktoberfest USA, from Sept. 28-Oct. 6.
Lake Worth, Fla. — Join the city of Lake Worth in hosting its 39th annual Oktoberfest on the second and third weekend of October Oct. 12-14 and Oct. 19-21.
Las Vegas, N.V. — Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas Oktoberfest celebrations will continue daily until the end of October.
Leavenworth, Wash. — Leavenworth Oktoberfest is held Oct. 5-6, Oct. 12-13, and Oct. 19-20.
New Ulm, Minn.— This Minnesota town hosts the New Ulm Oktoberfest Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 12-13.
San Diego, Calif. — Ocean Beach Oktoberfest from Oct. 5-6.
San Francisco, Calif. — Oktoberfest by the Bay is held Sept. 28-30.
Torrance, Calif. (Los Angeles) — The Los Angeles Oktoberfest runs through Oct. 28 every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Tulsa, Okla. — Tulsa Oktoberfest runs Oct. 18-21.
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